Home > Talked to Vicki Robin of YMOYL

Talked to Vicki Robin of YMOYL

January 12th, 2010 at 04:00 pm

Your Money or Your Life (YMOYL) is the book that changed my life when I first read it back in about 1992. Even though I never followed completely through the program, I did several of the "9 steps," and just reading the book helped me move from being "mindless" about money to "mindful." It also started me on a path to become educated about personal finances, which has lead to my currently in-progress career change.

Along the way from academic psychologist to financial professional, I developed two courses, "Simplicity and Sustainability" and "Money and Happiness." These were academic courses oriented to college undergraduates with no particular financial expertise and involved reading, discussing, and writing about a series of books written for intelligent laypeople. Several of the authors whose books I read myself along the way are featured in a tele-seminar series organized by Vicky Robin herself. The first introductory class was last night, and I actually got to thank Vicky personally for her work, though I didn't get to elaborate on what a difference it made in my life. She's having a second introductory tele-class tonight and the series starts "for real" next Monday. You can read more about it here:

Text is and Link is, and the link if you want to attend tonight's intro is here:
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The intro class is free, and if tonight is like last night, she'll discuss YMOYL--which even as someone who has read the book 3 or 4 times, I found useful. The speaker series does charge, however. Since I'm currently unemployed, I'm debating whether to attend myself or not--especially since I think I'll be taking a class at the local college, and much as I could easily spend all the money I don't spend on Henry on education, one does have to make choices. She says she's currently planning to repeat the series a second time, so possibly I'll wait until the repeat. But it was a real honor just to be able to thank the person who co-authored the book that changed my life.

3 Responses to “Talked to Vicki Robin of YMOYL”

  1. zetta Says:

    That's wonderful that you were able to thank the author in person.

    I'd really love to see the reading list for the financial classes you used to teach!

  2. zetta Says:

    Just saw in your last post that you are developing a course on money and happiness, and wanted to recommend a book you might be able to use: Happiness is a Serious Problem by Dennis Prager

  3. Dido Says:


    Thanks for the book recommendation; I'll look at that next time I'm in a bookstore. The class is actually something from the past--right now I'm not teaching, though I do expect that I'll go back and do some teaching eventually.

    Some of the books that I've used in the money and happiness class in the past include:

    Group 1: Juliet Schor's The Overspent American; Robert Frank's Luxury Fever;
    Gregg Easterbrook's The Progress Paradox;
    James Suroweicki's The Wisdom of Crowds
    Group 2: Tal Ben-Shahir's Happier; Stephen Klein's The Science of Happiness; Sonja Lyubomirsky's The How of Happiness; Dan Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness
    Group 3: Glen Belsky & Tom Gilovich's Why Smart People Make Dumb Money Mistakes; Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational; Barry Schwartz's The Paradox of Choice
    I certainly never used all of these books at once! I've grouped them above by those books that take a more sociological perspective, those that focus more on the emotion of happiness, and those that look more at the cognitive errors people make in thinking about money that lead them to make poor decisions (Gilbert's book actually fits in this category as well). Typically I'd use five books with at least one from each of these categories each time I taught the course.

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